The home sector is seeing evidence of a turnaround, according to a report yesterday in the Wall Street Journal. The article states that strong year-to-date orders at furniture companies Ethan Allen Interiors Inc. and Haverty Furniture Cos. suggest consumers are making the purchases they had put off for the last couple of years. The housing market is driving increased sales and people generally spruce up their homes when they are about to put them on the market or when they have just moved into a new house, said Craig Johnson, president of research firm Customer Growth Partners. Ethan Allen Interiors Inc. said orders for the two months ended Feb. 28 rose 25% from a year earlier, driven by increased store traffic. Home Depot reported stronger-than-expected sales of some big-ticket items, such as appliances, water heaters and windows. Lowe's said sales tied to bigger-ticket projects improved from the third quarter, though they remained lower than a year earlier. In 2009, the furniture sector was off 20% from its peak in 2005. As confidence and the housing market recover, the snap back in the furniture sector will likely be among the strongest because it will be coming off the deepest dip, according to Johnson. Read the full article at http://online.wsj.com
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